Sauerkraut is so good for you! Particularly if it’s raw. Raw sauerkraut is full of healthy digestive enzymes and vitamins that are so lacking in our diets and digestive systems today. If you even just have one tablespoon of raw sauerkraut before your large meals (lunch, supper), you’ll find that your meals settle much better than before. Plus, it’s just so tasty! And making sauerkraut is actually quite easy.
To make sauerkraut, you’ll need a ceramic crock, a ceramic plate that will fit inside the crock, non-iodized salt (sea salt, for example), and cabbage. Use cabbage from the garden, or from the grocery. It’s usually on sale in the fall, and you can stock up.
Make sure the crock is clean. Wash and shred the cabbage. (I cut mine into chunks, then slice into the size I like). You’ll mix approx 1 tbsp salt with 1 to 2 large heads of cabbage, depending upon how salty you like your sauerkraut (use this ratio, as you continue to add more cabbage to the crock). Pack the cabbage in as tightly as you can (don’t be afraid to squish it… that actually helps).
Once you have as much in the crock as you want, you’ll place the ceramic plate on top. Then fill a large zip-lock bag with water and seal shut. Place on top of the plate to act as a weight to push the sauerkraut down. Cover the top of the crock with a cheesecloth or clean pillowcase or similar material, to allow the kraut to breath, but to keep out the dust, etc.
You’ll want to keep the crock in a cool place, probably in your basement or cellar. It can get a bit stinky as the sauerkraut ferments, so you probably won’t want it in the main part of your house. The sauerkraut will keep much better and have a better consistency, if you keep it cool as it ferments.
Check it on day two. If there’s not enough water that’s been released from the cabbage to cover the cabbage, add salt water to cover. (Older cabbage is dryer, and doesn’t have as much water as freshly harvested cabbage.)
Then, check it every few days. There will be “scum” that forms on the top. Not to worry. This is ok and a normal part of the process. Scrape off the scum and discard it. Stir and repack the sauerkraut. Replace the plate, the weight, and the cloth cover.
After two weeks, start tasting the sauerkraut. Once it’s at the taste that you like, then it’s done. You can keep the sauerkraut it covered and in your cold cellar or a refrigerator for quite a while, just taking what you need as you need it. Or you may certainly can it, but that does destroy many of the enzymes. Still, it’s better than the store bought sauerkraut.
This was a very common way for our ancestors to store food for winter. They’d often mix in other things than just cabbage into their sauerkraut. For example, with the cabbage: apples pieces, onions, carrots, red cabbage, turnips, just to name a few.
Have fun & enjoy!
Note: Share your garden recipes (or your comments on these recipes) with your fellow gardeners by emailing them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, home grown & fresh is always better… better taste, and higher nutritional content. To learn more about how to grow your own produce to use in these (or your own) garden recipes, see also: